I created Portrait for Michaela DePrince because she asked me to create a solo for her for the summit Women in the World. I decided to create a dance portrait of her. As a choreographer I believe that creating original work on someone is about bringing out their unique qualities. Portrait became a solo about the beautiful Michaela who is as idolised as much as she is talented. The pressure of being an idol is a blessing but with that comes a great deal of responsibility and pressure. Portrait for me is like the most beautiful bird in a golden cage, both admired and marvelled at as well as captive due to it’s own beauty. Creating this work on Michaela was an absolute pleasure, her technique and her artistic choices allowed me to create a truly beautiful and touching solo. At the Dutch National Ballet Gala 2018 Portrait was staged for the first time, as it had previously only been performed as a site-specific work.
Extracts of Portrait are featured in the music video 'The Joke' by Brandi Carlisle and directed by Danny Clinch. A film version of the solo was also featured at Google Zietgeist.
Portrait is een solo die Young Creative Associate Peter Leung maakte voor tweede soliste Michaela DePrince, in opdracht van de conferentie ‘Women in the World’ in Londen. Leung: “Ik besloot een danspor- tret van haar te maken, een solo voor de prachtige danseres Michaela die enorm getalenteerd is maar ook veel druk ervaart omdat ze zo tot idool wordt verheven.
In Portrait zie ik haar als de mooiste vogel in een gouden kooi, zowel bewonderd als gevangen vanwege haar schoonheid. Het was een absoluut plezier met haar te wer- ken, dankzij haar techniek en artistieke keuzes. Op het Gala wordt Portrait voor
het eerst echt geënsceneerd uitgevoerd.” Fragmenten van Portrait zijn te zien in de videoclip The Joke van Brandi Carlisle, in regie van Danny Clinch.
“Two works that stayed with me long after the performance were Portrait and Nude. Young Creative Associate, Peter Leung, wrote Portrait for Michaela DePrince, who is back on stage after an injury. Portrait is something of a rite of passage for each of these artists as they move into a new space. DePrince has developed from the virtuosic ingénue to take her place as a fully fledged artist while Leung’s complex work of signs and suggestions takes him to a new level. DePrince, simple costumed in a black dress, is positioned between two light stands as in a photographer’s studio and indeed her extraordinary life of courage in adversity has meant that much of her professional career has been played out in the spotlight. The choreography allows her, in brief moments to display her formidable technique but this intense solo is about a strong soul finding her own path.” - Maggie Foyer for Seeing Dance